tv Lou Dobbs Tonight CNN September 2, 2009 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
insurance company that would compete with private insureds. "playgirl" isn't the only racy magazine out to get him. the gay magd "unzipped" is out tonight, it looks like the president is bagging off of it. to get him. we have coverage with reports >> he's a real guy's guy. from brianna keilar and jessica >> reporter: who knew that yellin. but, first, we want to begin with ed henry at the white house playgirl doesn't exist anymore. with the president's new it's just an online version. and then there were the palins. strategy. ed? >> lisa, a dramatic move of the reports are that he wants to keep his skivvies on. president scheduling a joint everyone is trying to separate section of congress next wednesday night in prime time. levi from his levis. this is one of the tools at his disposal to try to turn the debate around. how he plans to do it, we're jeanne moos, cnn. come next, "lou dobbs told by top white house aides is tonight." to be a lot more specific than thanks, suzanne. he has. he's faced a lot of criticism new signs that president obama that he hasn't put a plan on the may abandon part of his agenda. table. a short time ago, i spoke to is the public option now dead? also on both sides they're senior adviser david axelrod who outraged and angered. signaled that it may be coming and firefighters, they're off the table. making major progress in the so why the speech? did it feel like the debate was deadly wildfires that's now slipping away from you? burned 140,000 acres near los >> no, i think we've gone
through months and months of angeles. tonight, we have stunning new debate and discussion. information on the possible all the ideas are on the table. cause of those fires. but, first, breaking news in it's a new season, it seems the health care debate. appropriate as we enter the president obama announcing a final weeks for the president to major speech on health care. address the nation and talk ago the president will address a how we're going to provide joint section of congress next stability to people who have health insurance. wednesday. the move comes as the white and help those who can't get house sends strong signals that insurance get the coverage they it may be ready to abandon the need. >> how specific will he get? public option. a government-run health care >> i don't think anybody will leave the speech without a strong sense of how the president feels we believe -- he believes we should proceed. i think that's going to be -- >> but will he spell out five, six points where this is what has to be in the final? >> again, i think it's going to be very, very clear by the time the speech is done that he sees a clear path to how we can provide stability and security to people who have insurance. and how he can help those who don't have insurance get the coverage they need. >> can you clear up, where's the public option? is it still on the table? or is it off? >> the president embraced the public option because he believes we need to have
competition and choice in the insurance system, in this pool that will be created for uninsured workers and small businesses that can't afford insurance to buy it. and he believes that will be a boon for consumers. he still believes that competition and choice is important. >> but does that mean the public option is still alive? >> i'm not going to deal with the details of the president's speech, otherwise there would be no point in giving it. but it's fair to say that he believes strongly in the notion of competitional choice to keep the insurance companies honest. >> but two sources familiar with the talks have told dana bash and i that republicans have stepped up in recent days. very serious talks with olympia snowe of maine on a baurnl house bill that would not include a public option. instead, what it would have is a so-called trigger that would basically give insurance companies a defined period of
time to make serious changes. if those changes were not made, then what would be triggered would be a public option, to in the words of the employer, keep the insurance agencies compliant. >> indeed, ed, i like the way you pressed him on that issue and continued to press him even when he went giving you an answer on this. is this your sense that they've got a sense of desperation that they're trying to turn the page with this address? >> i think so desperation is too strong a word. if you look at cnn's polling in the last 24 hours when we asked people if they want to see congress make dramatic changes or minor changes. only about 2020% of the american public is telling us that they want congress to basically close the books and go home without doing anything. about 76% are saying they want health reform but with some change. either minor or major change. the white house has to take comfort in the fact that a vast
majority of the public says they do want reform. he has to make dramatic changes and we'll see whether or not he does that next week. the public does right now have an appetite of reform. but just not the kind of reform the president has pushed yet. >> thanks, ed henry, from reporting from the white house. well, president obama will also have major work to do persuading his own party leaders. listen to this from house speaker nancy pelosi. >> i support what the president has said. he said that he believes that the public option is the best way to keep the insurance companies honest, to increase competition, in order to forego lower costs, improve quality, expand coverage and retain choice. he has also said, if you have a better way of doing it, put it on the table. >> the president will also have a chance to make his case personally to democratic leaders next week. he will be hosting pelosi and
senate majority leader harry reid at the white house before his address to congress. well, the president's popularity has taken a serious hit during the battle over health care. but the latest polling shows there is still support for some sort of health care overall. jessica yellin has the report. >> reporter: you've heard the noise around health care reform but -- how much of a difference has it made? the latest cnn opinion research poll shows it has not killed america's appetite for some kind of reform. according to the polling, 53% of americans want congress to continue working on the bills they started before recess. compare that to 25% who want congress to start from scratch, and 20% who want no reform at all. as for the president's reform plan? 48% like them, that's down only 2 points since early august before the town halls began. but it's no longer a majority. most of those polled say the
town halls had no effect on their views about health care reform at all. now, it's not all good news for the white house. most say they would feel more secure with a current system than with the president's plan. and the numbers are worse among seniors. >> stop bureaucrats from getting between seniors and their doctor. >> reporter: according to cnn's polling, a majority of senior citizens, 60% oppose the president's reform proposal. there is real concern that medicare recipients will be worse off if the current reform is passed. perhaps the best sign for the democrat is that this message seems to be penetrating. >> without real reform, the burdens on america's families and businesses will continue to multiply. >> reporter: 65% say problems with the current health care system will eventually affect most americans. and almost all americans believe some reform is necessary. something else to note, lisa,
recently cbs news releaseded a poll showing that americans are confused about what's in the health care bill. when we polled, we asked if people understood the major points in obama's proposals. so the majority say they do understand. so it looks like the bottom line is, folks are confused about the details but they get the general thrust of the health care debate. >> thank you very much. well, congress is also taking a hit in the polls. a new pew survey shows the congressional approval rating, take a look at this, it's down to 37%. and it looks bad for the democratic party also. if the congressional elections were held today, the new survey says 44% are leaning republican. that's an increase of 7 points since june of last year. well, the polling only hits at the anger aimed at members of congress. some of that anger spilled over at a health care forum hosted by one of the top democratic
leaders in the house. brianna keilar has more. the. >> reporter: the line for steny hoyer's town hall meeting wrapped around. >> i think it should pass. i think everybody should have affordable health care. >> and i don't know all the ins and outs, and i'm afraid i might lose what i have. >> reporter: once inside, there were desperate pleas for a government-run insurance plan. >> i can't afford it. the doctor won't even take me now. >> my son pays $800 a month and has a $5,000 deductible. we need a public option. >> i support a public option. it would bring down payments for all of us. >> reporter: but in this conservative district, many people were concerned the democratic plan to overhaul health care will drive the country further into debt. >> i don't see how the government can provide all these
things and still say they're going to save money. it doesn't make ordinary, common sense. >> reporter: despite assurances from hoyer -- >> if it's not paid for, i'm not going to vote for it. >> reporter: -- critics remain skeptical, convinced that health care system is broken, but just as certain, a golf-run insurance plan is not the fix. >> i'm for health care reform but i'm not for government-run health care reform. >> reporter: speaking to cnn after the meet, hoyer reaffirmed his support for the so-called public option. but stopped short of saying house democrats will vote down a bill-f if it doesn't include one. >> there are many other aspects of this bill that are there are good that will make a real difference that terms of cost to individuals and families. access to affordable quality health care. all of those are very important as well. >> the reality is while a government-run public option is in all three versions of the house health care reform bill,
and one bill in the senate that's made it out of committee in the senate, since department cats have expressed enough opposition to the plan that its passage there seems entirely -- or shy say extremely unlikely, lisa. >> that's the difficulty. hence, we see the president coming forward. do you think when it's all said and done the public option is going to be kept in there? or reading the tea leaves here, they're going to get rid of it? >> i think it's going to be difficult for them to keep it in there. you're listening to steny hoyer, he's the number two to nancy pelosi. even hoyer saying that house democrats will not turn their backs essentially on a bill that does not include a public option. so we still have yet to see, but we've known for quite some time, lisa, it's going to be a heavy lift to include a public option because of the senate. >> nk thats for that report. and still ahead, more on the health care battle.
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of los angeles. the fire is still mostly out of control. and fire officials have concluded the fire was human-caused. sandra endo is there and joins us there with the latest. sandra, what can you tell us? >> reporter: well, lisa, i'm at the command center where fire officials are plotting their plan of attack to really tackle this massive fire. they're using a giant map behind knee kind of chart the behavior of this wildfire. still at this hour, it's only 22% contained, but they say firefighters are making some headway. fire captain keith richards returns from his shift, fighting a fire, he says, is unlike any other. >> it's off the hook. you know, it's just -- i mean, you just don't get -- you don't see this often. you know, this much acreage. these kind of conditions. >> reporter: this is base camp where firefighters eat, sleep in tents, get deployed and then
repeat the cycle. emergency personnel from as far away as west virginia have come to battle the blaze which has scorched more than 140,000 acres of land. still firefighter like captain mike harris are winning smalle victories and hope to turn things around. >> it didn't have quite the intensity of fire yesterday that it had and a few days before that. >> reporter: officials are committed to making sure firefighters have what they need to continue their progress and contain the fire, no matter what the cost. >> first and foremost, we have to thank god and nature, but also our firefighters. >> reporter: but it's an issue for the cash-strapped state of california which budgeted nearly $180 million for emergencies like this one. >> we've already spent over half of that two months into the fiscal year. so that is an absolute caution sign. >> lisa, the price tag is expected to go up because fire officials say they don't expect the blaze to be extinguished
until a couple of weeks. lisa? >> syeah, sandra, this fire is truly amazing. it's burned an area greater than the size of the city of philadelphia. you can tell us a little more -- there are pictures there that you can see it burning away. you can tell us more about a possible cause? we're hearing this might have been a human cause? >> well, lisa, i can tell you, they're gearing up for their official evening press conference. you can see the podium being put in place. all day long, though, we've been questioning fire officials as to the report of what caused this massive blaze. they are officially saying that the cause of the fire is still unknown. the investigation is ongoing. they have pinpointed where it started, but not officially how, lisa? >> okay. thank you very much, sandra for that update. well, more than 4,000 firefighters and support personnel have been battling the wildfires. specialized strike teams are on the front lines of the fire ready to rescue trapped
civilians or protect property all at a moment's notice. brian todd is on the fire line with a strike team, and he has this amazing report. >> reporter: constantly shifting directions. threatening homes and highways, this temperamental wildfires has formidable adversaries. they're called strike teams. this is the front line of what a strike team has to do. this is a fire coming down tujunga canyon, threatening the residents. these guys are supposed to hold the line right along here, threatening the residents just over to our left. these guys are doing it with shovels and they've got a tanker here. they think they can hold it off. as this swath of flame approaches the property, i approach them. what's been the toughest so far? >> heat. the heat is drying out the vegetation. it's a lot of vegetation of years it's burning through it.
>> reporter: harris is part of a force of more than 80 strike teams fighting this fire, they do a little of everything. confronting fires head on. steering the flames into areas that are less threatening, often battling the unexpected. this strike team is on their way to several miles away. they've got to chop down the tree. here's an added problem. take a look. the tree is burning from the inside. you see it smoldering there from inside the trunk. a few minutes later, they slice through. smoke billows out of the tree because they have to clear it from the road to get to the next strike zone. strike teams are combined forces, sometimes with bulldozer operators, hot-shot teams that take on the blazes with tankers. they have to be flexible but one of the main jobs sometimes involves spraying a house, digging in and waiting. i talk about that with chief
randy may who's been a strike team member for a decade. >> it goes through near to the house but they want to protect the house. >> is that called a defensive posture? >> yes, it is. >> why take a defensive posture rather than an offensive posture? >> because, when you think of offensive, we may have an unburned fuel and rekindle. and we don't want to have to come back to that house. we want to get rid of all of the fuel. >> now, the conditions that these teams operate in is consistently just brutal. very steep terrain. bone-dry conditions. searing heat. but they have made i lot of progress in containing the fires. so much progress, fire officials say they hope to release some of these these crews. >> these guys have been working around the clock, haven't they?
>> they certainly have. they're slated for 12-hour shifts, realistically, it's longer than that. it's a huge issue and that's what some of the officials are looking out for in the days ahead. they have to stagger the teams and their schedule but it's not easy. >> thanks, brian todd, for that report. coming up former boston red sox pitcher curt schilling, we will share with you what could be his possible political ambition. also, health care. the economy, afghanistan, many believe president obama's agenda may be stalled.
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we continue with our series of reports on health care systems around the world. tonight, the state-run health care system of communist cuba. cuba provides medical care for everyone that lives on the island nation. life expectancy there is 78 years. but there are some key reasons, cuba's system isn't a model for health care in the united states. >> reporter: cuba, an imimprovished nation fading problems in food, drugs and jobs. still, in the third-world
nation, it's producing world-class results. >> cuba has the longest life expectancy of any country in latin america. >> reporter: and cuba's life expectancy equals that of the united states. cuba's health care system is socialized. the goal that everyone gets equal and free access to treatment. cuba is strongly committed to primary care with a doctor in walk-in clinic in every neighborhood. in 1999, the world health organization reported there was one doctor to 71 people. but that was before they sent doctors to venezuela. one sign of success according to the w.h.o., in 2005 showed cuba had the lowest hiv in all of the americas. >> they were able to build a response on a strr strong primary health care network that already existed. >> reporter: prevention is key in cuba.
>> they concentrate in bringing services closer to people's homes so that the big-ticket items don't really take up, don't sponge up all that small budget they had. >> reporter: cuba spends 7% of its gdp on health care every year, and $363 per person. while the united states spends 6% of its gd and 7. 1% of per capita every year. doctors are paid an average of $15 a month. but the biggest challenge, the u.s. trade embargo which makes it difficult and costly to buy the best medicines on the market. >> but that's less the health care system. that's more the broader economy and their ability to buy drugs and medical devices on the open market. >> the difficulty in gaining access to certain medicines and treatments in cuba has led to a growing black market economy, and there are reports of doctors
charging patients under the table for better, quicker care, lisa, it's interesting looking at these different countries. we're talking russia tomorrow. it happens today, giving doctors vodka and chocolate. >> it's a cultural thing and partially under the table thing. >> in cuba, don't they have foreigners going there for services? >> they do. there's a famous argentine football soccer player who went to cuba because of the specialists that are very good in cuba. it's part of what is keeping their funding system-n still in place. still ahead, is the face-off debate is a compromise health care better than no change at all? >> and the hurricane is pounding the baja peninsula. and the former red sox star. is he considering a bid to replace ted kennedy in the senate.
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bill better than no plan at all. joining me now are anne kim, director of programming at third way. she thinks it's important for the plan to goal forward each without a co-option. and roger hickey. he says the bill must not be watered down and must include a public option. as you both know, president obama is scheduled to address congress next week to lay out a more specific plan. roger, should that include a public option and why? >> well, lisa, we need a public option to keep the insurance industry honest. one of the deals that congress and the president have cut with the insurance industry is to mandate that everyone buy health insurance. if you're going to ask everyone to buy health insurance, you sure as well better give them a lot of choices, including a choice like a public option. so i think we need a public option. all over the country, this week, our citizen groups, advocates of
health care reform, are sending congress back to work with a mandate to get it done. >> anne, there is a certain political reality here in that that there may not be support for a paungs. so if it comes down to no bill at all, or no bill with a public option, where do you come down? >> i think by calling what we have on the table already as a compromise, really it has been achieved. once it passes, to what's draed to without public option, it's going to be against the law to deny anyone coverage because they've had a heart attack or hypertension. it's going to be against the law for the insurance companies to charge someone more than their neighbors because they have a preexisting condition. and it really undersells what's already been achieved to call this watered down or call it a compromise or a plan b or half a loaf, so, yes, we should definitely move forward.
>> roger, and this may come down to this, do you think that democrats, should they try to charge ahead, move ahead with this, without republican support? or you know, senator lamar alexander, he said this could be a disaster for the democratic party if they try to ram this through? >> listen, it's very, very clear that the republican party has walked away from any kind of compromise and any kind of joint reform. the president and senator baucus has been very very patiently trying to negotiate a deal with senator grassley and the finance committee. all the other committees have enacted bills with public insurance options. so the new context, in which the president speaks next week when the congress comes back, is that the democrats need to forge a health care plan on their own, without significant republican help. they can do it and the republicans have made it clear
that we can't waste any more time hoping that a large number of republicans are going to support what we do. >> anne, do you agree? or do you think if they try it that way that this thing is dead on arrival? >> i agree with roger that we have to try it that way. but the one thing that has to happen is that the democratic bill has to be more moderate or centric and more reasonable. the real audience is the middle class. they need to know what's in it for them. it's not about, you know, what's happening in congress as much as what's happening out there. they are the audience we have to satsf satsfy. >> you know, so many people, they take a look at the proposals. but they are concerned about the cost of things. there are americans that their coverage will be reduced. that their out-of-pocket costs will increase. how do you address this, roger, in light of public option, will it expand it and bring down
costs as they say it will? >> lisa, those are all good questions, but the public option is not expensive. it's going to bring down costs. it's going to make money. it's going to compete with the private insurance entities. so without the public option, you might see much more increases in premiums. it's an important debate that we're going to have, the important role of competition in the private health insurance industry. and most people, when you ask them in the polls, say that the option of choosing something like medicare, instead of a private insurance company, they have lots of experience with those companies that that option ought to be available. not for everybody but for those who want it. and that's a very popular idea with the american public. >> and there say lot of pressure with democrats to try to get this done, particularly with president obama. with the midterm elections coming up, do you think if
congress doesn't get anything done on health care, is that going to hurt democrats on capitol hill? >> unfortunately, it is. it's going to have ramifications that extend beyond health care. financial services reform. democrats may very well pay the price in december if we can't deliver a home run, or at least a triple on health care reform. it really is going to set the stage for midterm legislation. >> kim and roger hickey, we appreciate you. >> brook baldwin, she now gives an update on other stories. lisa, new developments in the horrific multiple murder in georgia. guy heinze who made a frantic call. heinze returned to his home to find his family, quote, beaten to death. after calling police, heinze was arrested for making false statements. he was placed on house arrest.
heinze jr. lives in that same mobile home. it's unknown whether he'll serve his house arrest there. police are not ruling him out. hurricane jimena pounding the baja of mexico. power outages and rough oceans but did not sustain major dam. jimena has weakened to a category 1 storm but forecasters warn it could cause danger flooding as it moves through mexico. meantime, tropical storm erika could regain strength sometime tomorrow. and curt schilling has, quote/unquote, some interest in running for the late senator kennedy's massachusetts seat. shilling said on blog that he's interested but many things would have to happen.
he's stretregistered as an independent. those are the stories we're following tonight, lisa. well, still ahead, president obama's latest strategy to sell his health care plan. will it work? and why the stimulus package isn't creating jobs, and we'll have that special report. ( revving, siren blares )
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government is or isn't doing to help millions of americans get back to work. in california, the unemployment rate is 11.9%. the construction industry there has just been devastated by job losses and bankruptcies. and there's little evidence the federal stimulus program is helping much, at least not yet. casey wian reports from rialto, california. >> reporter: michael wynne is a construction technician in california who hasn't had steady work in 15 months. >> nobody wants to build. all the foreclosures and all. >> reporter: his unemployment checks ended six months ago and his wife was laid off last month. he's moved from a house to an apartment. his resume posting on craigslist has attracted mostly scams. despite 19 years experience, he's relying on odd jobs and money from family to get by. >> day to day. today, i'll make maybe $20 to get me fuel to get to a job interview.
families are breaking up. they're winding up in shelters and things. so i got to -- you know, thank the lord god that i'm not in that situation yet. but, you know, it's really tough out there for a lot of folks. >> reporter: southern california's inland empire has been among the areas hit hardest by a nationwide slump in both residential and commercial construction. in the last year, this region has lost more than 20,000 construction jobs. a drop of 22%. two years ago, former construction had 45 supervisors. and more new projects than it could handle. today, it has nine crew bosses. and just one new job in ten months. homer had once had 400 employees, now just 60. >> it's really horrible. it's been the worst experience of my lifetime. in my business career. we -- you know, the impact on lives is a real tragedy. we've taken pride in trying to help people find jobs as they leave our company, and there
just are no jobs to go to. >> reporter: nationwide, construction has been hammered by steep drops in holt, warehouse and hospitality investment. >> while the rest of the country is suffering through a recession, the construction industry, unfortunately, is suffering through a depression. we've had severe job losses. we've lost over 1 million jobs in the last year. >> reporter: the federal stimulus program is supposed to help, but so far, the money is slow to create jobs. an industry trade group says stimulus could account for more than 10% of construction employment. but for now, there's little evidence that the construction industry has hit bottom. the association of general contractors says it's preparing for an even more difficult year in 2010. casey why yn, cnn, rialto, california. >> california has lost more than 367,000 jobs in one year.
nearly a third of americans nationwide are unemployed or underemployed. part-time workers looking for full-time jobs and those who have been out of work so long they have stopped looking for work. coming up, is president obama losing his political clout? he's planning another major speech for health care legislation. and a growing number of americans now oppose the war in afghanistan only months after president obama approved a troop surge. all that and more next.
joining meal now republican strategic, former white house political director and cnn contributor ed rollins. columnist for the "new york daily news" air roll lewis and columnist for forbes.com, dan garsen. let me start with you, ed, a good idea, good strategy? >> he sort of makes it serious. it's almost like starting a new school year. now congressional. he elevates it. sometimes, it's a tough forum. you have the democrats yelling and screaming at you and the democrats cheering on every
word. it makes it a serious, serious speech. >> you know, the thing we keep hearing again and again that the plan is -- it's not really a plan, it's several various proposals and that it's too vague and so forth. what kind of specifics does the president need to provide, errol? >> well, he's contemplating in this speech, i think the first step, stepping more forward, and letting people know he wants certain items, he doesn't want certain items, he's going to start favoring a bill. i think in some ways they're playing for time. i think there's a couple weeks left that max baucus has to get the senate in line. the key question of public option remains a bit of a mystery, some of the other parts there's got to be portability, they can't turn people down for prior medical conditions. the savings have got to be clear and explainable. but we are going to start to see the president step forward. >> you know, one of the big
things is that he has his work cut out for him. people think this thing is too big. they think it's too expensive. in fact, we have a screen we can share with the viewers. a recent cnn poll. people were asked get, the effect of the obama health care plan on your costs. 55% of those people polled thought -- there it is there -- 55% thought their medical costs are going to increase under this obama plan. only 19% said they thought it would decrease. 24% thought it would remain the same. people think this thing is too expensive and it's going to mean out-of-pocket expenses for them? >> i think you hit it on the head. there's five bills that congress. i think the result is, we have mass confusion. that poll example is a perfect indictment of this process. it's that the public is not convinced that the central goal at that president laid out that this is going to lower health care costs for the government
and individuals is going to be met. i think that's the chief challenge he has in the speech and whaefr happens afterwards. i think the facts matter more than the forum. he's got to be specific. he's got to say, this is what we're going to do. this is how it's going to save you money. he's got to challenge the republicans, if you don't like this plan, put forward an alternative. >> you know, if the support is not there, people are skeptical, should democrats try to ram this thing through without republican support? >> well, i don't think there's going to be any public support at the end of the day. you know, put malpractice reform or tort reform in there, there may have been things that republicans would have gone through. fundamentally, republicans are posed to this premise. i think the key thing here is you've got 80% of the country with some sort of health care, plus the medicare. and if these people as the polls are showing feel that medicare is going to be better or more expensive, you've got to
convince them that's true. you can still shove something through because you probably have the votes to do that but you're going to have an unhappy audience. young people have a mandated plan in which they have to pay something every month. that's going to alter their lives. >> errol, it could come down to a fight with the republican party, with the blue dog democrats on one hand. on the other hand, you have democrats like pelosi, for instance, saying, no, it absolutely has to be in there to get through. how do you balance out those two interests? >> well, the hard calculation is going to be which of the blue dogs are in danger. which might actually flip republican. if there are too many of them, obviously, that will mean more than there are not. when you have anthony wiener coming on saying i'm going to
vote against this bill and we'll take 99 democrats with me, that's a real threat. i think it becomes a different kind of a fight when it's a caucus fight. that's where the president stepping in there mean a lot-that's where promises coming in, looking you're in a marginal seat. i'll do a big rally at your local high school to make sure you'll get re-elected if you're a blue dog democrat. we're going to see bargaining going on and it will happen faster once the republicans out of the equation. >> first, sitting in for campbell brown at the top of the hour, john roberts. john? >> lisa, thanks. tonight, we've got an incredible story, a man survives after his heart stops for 45 minutes. i'll talk to the doctors who literally brought him back from the dead. we're also taking a closer look at that story, allegations of hazing and embassy contracts in afghanistan. plus, is whitney houston
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and we are back now with our panel, dan, i want to turn to you, public option, does it have to be in there? >> no. and i think the president's pretty much signaling right now, they're going to have to cut that out of whatever plan he advocates. i think whatever else they put forward instantly becomes viable. not just with the democratic dock cause, i think they have the ability to pick off moderates, of course. he's going to have to commit to the american people this is going to meet the goals of reducing costs, improving quality of care. secondly, he's going to have to convince his base that a serious reform plan without the public option with some other mechanism to create competition say major victory. and it is.
so i think that's where he's going to have to assert leadership. it's not health care debate. it's a leadership test for the president. i want to turn to the war in afghanistan. we have another graphic that we have share with our viewers. take a look at these numbers. look at that. opposition to the u.s. war in afghanistan. 57%, just in april, it was up 46%. ed, what do you make of this? i mean, this is a significant 11% increase? >> this is -- if the president plans on keeping our troops there, and he's going to have to add troops because obviously the troops aren't sufficient now, he's got to convince both his constituents which are anti-american war. that this is not a quick fix. if you're going into afghanistan and trying to create stability, it's a long-term goal. and if you want to do that, the american people has to be with you. if not, you're going to see an erosion and the numbers will get higher than today.
>> let me put up a graphic. this is telling, it's democrats. those are the folks opposed to this. democrats now 73%. you have the number there, 73% now opposing a u.s. war in afghanistan. senator russ feingold, he was calling for a withdrawal until afghanist afghanistan. could this be a bigger problem, ed? >> i don't know, but a challenge, it's just the reality of it if there's not an overwhelming amount of support, people are going to start asking questions. why do we want to build a nation here? 22-year-olds with rifles are not of the people to put together a functioning secular economy for the afghan people. it's just not the right mix. it doesn't mean we withdraw our interests. it doesn't mean that we stop trying to make things better there, but we may not have the right mix of trainers, troops and businesses to make that happen. >> i think what that poll doesn't show is intensity.
i think the good news for the president right now, i think he has a longer leash when it comes to afghanistan than president bush in iraq. americans believe this is the good war. this is the place that attacked us in 9/11. this is where the taliban is regaining strength. this is where al qaeda is based. this say real threat for us. so i think he will have more of a caution politically, but at the same time, if the casualty count continues to rise, it's going to continue to be a problem. >> we are out of time, dan, ed,